Tarka Talent

Women in Consulting: Hitting the Glass Ceiling in Consulting

There is an inherent problem in the management consulting industry with a distinct lack of non-male senior leaders in the industry.

We’re working to change this fact and support women and non-binary people into senior leadership roles in consulting. One of the ways we’re doing this is by creating a safe space for people to interact and share their experiences and stories. 


The Women in Consulting Community 

On Thursday the 22nd of September, we met our online community in person for the first time.  

Recruitment Consultant, Sarah Gallacher, has been building our Women in Consulting networking group over the past year to create a community of women and non-binary people in the consulting industry. This space is used to share opportunities, news and recommendations for those looking to excel in their consulting career and reach those senior positions.  

A significant focus of this community is education. Providing the platform for consultants to learn from others to develop their careers and inclusive policies for all. We hope this makes senior leadership positions more attainable for women and non-binary people. 

This in-person event allowed for a unique networking and mentoring opportunity. Consultants at all levels were able to get access to some industry leaders, including our wonderful panellists: 

  • Hannah Tharp, Head of Consulting at BJSS 
  • Bev Evans, Partner at CF 
  • Julianne Ilebode-Akisanya, Senior Leader and Healthcare Advisor at Teneo 
  • Eleanor Rollason, Partner at Channel 3 Consulting 
  • Maria Lawson, Partner at Baringa Partners 
  • Carolyn Kostelny, Managing Partner and Chief of Staff at Quorsus 

We’re so glad that we were able to provide a safe space for everyone, panellists and attendees alike, to share their personal stories. 

Here are just a few takeaways from this intimate night… 


Managing imposter syndrome 

Imposter syndrome is very real. Research by Deloitte shows that in 2021, just 30.7% of board seats in the UK were held by women. With such a lack of representation in the boardroom, it can be easy to feel like you don’t belong in senior leadership teams. 

As a result, we spoke about the importance of believing in yourself and making sure you’re comfortable in your own skin. Being confident will allow you to make sure your voice is heard and never apologise for being yourself. Setting yourself barriers is super important to achieve in both your personal and professional life and you do not need to apologise or feel guilty for doing so. 


The choice to have a family 

The discrimination women and non-binary people face when it comes to having children, continues to rise. According to Pregnant Then Screwed, 54,000 people a year lose their job when they fall pregnant. This number has almost doubled in the last decade. 

There is a lot of work to be done for women and non-binary people to have the freedom of having a family and a career. Steps can be taken, such as re-assessing paternity policies or providing flexible hours for parents. This is a topic that we hope to discuss further in future blogs and events. 


Navigating pregnancy loss 

Everyone needs to remember that it’s not always possible to become pregnant even if a person wants to.  

Pregnancy loss and infertility are emotional topics for many. While you might mean well, questions about starting a family or having children should be avoided in the workplace to avoid causing distress and harm to colleagues. 

Moreover, it is becoming more common for people to expect businesses to have a pregnancy loss policy in place to support their employees through this difficult time. If this is something your business is missing, it might be time to re-assess. 


Future conversations 

We also started to think about where the conversation will lead next.  

Gender is just one barrier for many of us. Other factors, such as race, religion, education, age, sexuality, disability and everything else making us different and unique also play a role in our career and its progression.  

These are topics that we intend to discuss at length in the future, for they all create unique circumstances, and each requires different approaches. 


How to get involved next time 

This blog gives you just an idea of the conversations we shared. 

Wanting to join us next time? Perhaps you want to gain exposure to industry leaders who look like you. Or perhaps you simply want to be in a room where “The power of women celebrating and supporting women was palpable.” as one of our lovely panellists put it. 

To get involved next time, make sure to join the Women in Consulting Community on LinkedIn. You can sign up here: WCC – Women in Consulting Community | Groups | LinkedIn  

Want to chat more? Drop us an email at wcc@tarkatalent.co.uk  

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